Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Three point two five.

That's about how many hours of sleep I got last night due to a) drinking too much coffee whilst DJing and b) being plagued by dreams where I was under surveillance by squirrels for possible legal infractions involving the bribery of certain government agents connected to highway development.

Yeah, I don't get it either.

I'm going to see Dinosaur Jr tonight so I reckon that as long as I can stay alert at work today, the sheer volume of the band should take care of perking me up tonight.


Frappr Attack!

I am stealing this lock, stock and smoking barrel from Rob...right down to paraphrasing him!

By adding yourself to my Frappr map, I get a visualization of where all of my visitors are from. It's fun and completely painless, I promise. The whole thing will be done in seconds and there’s no need to enter e-mail addys or any crap like that unless you want to. After a few folks have jumped on-board I think you’ll get the idea.

So make with the clicky already and add yourself already. Stand up and be counted!

By me.


A few quick thoughts on newly released musical albums.

First, who here has heard the new INXS disc Switch? I didn’t understand the band’s choice of JD over Mig originally, but now that I’ve heard the album I finally get it…JD can almost perfectly mimic Michael Hutchence. I will painfully admit that the opening song had me a wee bit excited – almost in that, "well, maybe after all these years off the guys have finally collected an album’s worth of material" way since the bands last few discs (even with the charismatic Mr Hutchence at the mic) were less than captivating – and that hope actually held out (albeit weakening song by song) until it was finally smashed by the laughable "Hot Girls" and the rest of the disc’s unstoppable slide into drab workmanship.

Again, the way the vocals have been laid down, along with layering breathy basso notes over the slightly vibrato tenor melodies, does not so much revive the memory of Michael Hutchence as it does remind you just how much his presence helped elevate a band that was primarily a really successful rock/funk pub band.

On the other end of the spectrum is The Darkness’ One Way Ticket To Hell…And Back! which is exactly the sort of disc I had hoped it would be. Instead of the group suddenly trying to build some masterwork to prove that their success is built upon some actual artistic merit, the band instead takes the road rooted in greater self-confidence by merely building upon the strengths they already had going for them. So what does that mean in plain English? There’s a bunch of songs here for everyone to sing along too whether they’re careening down a winding highway in their cherry Camaro or whether they’re passing time tapping their feet under the desk in their cube.

Actually my primary complaint has to do with the choice of their producer and the way he layers on the backing vocals at points in such a way as to scream “We’re trying to be Queen!”

Oh wait, the producer actually was Queen’s producer on their classic albums?!¹ Hmm...well, at least that explains that. The whole thing is too much fun to let such minor points dull the party though so feel free to guiltlessly indulge in this one.

Speaking of other guiltless indulgences, file the new Madonna in that category. But skip the "I Love New York" song since it’s so bad it threatens to overtake the danceathon hopping happily all over the rest of the disc.


So, uh, yeah. That just about does it for today.

Oh wait, I almost forgot this!

I’m so glad my nephew is progressing quite nicely along the road to rock and/or roll attitude despite being stranded in the icy plains of Canada.

¹Yes, I already knew that. I'm just being a snot.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

All my exes live in Texas Oregon?!

Yes, it's true. I can never move to Oregon. Especially to a particular University town. Now I know where the annual "Tankboy Ruined My Life" convention will be held next year.¹


In which some perspective is gained.

This sort of applies to the above. I realized after the nose piercing post of a week or so ago that my recollections of certain events are fated to be flawed. I can accept that and believe that's an unavoidable result of writing. Luckily for me I have folks out there that can add new layers to previous memories that I had never considered – or had just blanked out – and each of these layers contributes to a more complexly fulfilling tapestry.

Thinking on this I also realized that a number of my more major relationships died because I really believed that I was a totally communicative sensitive dude when, in fact, I was perhaps a little too communicative and sensitive primarily to my own perceived needs. I'm kind of glad I've started to grasp this since it really helps explain a lot, including why I still get along well with some exes and why others would prefer I don't even know they still live in The States.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm the sort of person who can tend to over-intellectualize things and will at times focus on the finer points of a matter -- or zero in on a single issue with lazer precision -- at the expense of parsing the bigger picture. I'm not saying this always happens -- if it did I'd be frozen and unable to ever move forward -- but I am self-aware enough to admit that my brain is not always an asset.

So I'm guessing that part of growing up includes grappling with the fact that you once sometimes acted like an asshole when you actually thought you were being a "good guy?" It sure seems like it.


Movies that have let me down a.k.a. Part of the reason I got nothing done over the holiday.

We saw Crash and I think the less said about this film the better. I will say this: Creating a movie that merely pushes hot topic buttons is not the same as creating a movie that provokes serious discussion about those same hot topics. The whole thing seemed a bit too simplistic and tidy for my liking. However many other folks I’ve spoke to got a completely different read on the film so I’m going to limit my criticism with the understanding that by virtue of the movie’s subject matter unheated discussion is near-impossible. I suspect that’s what Paul Haggis, the film’s writer/director intended, but I think his approach falters on the side of exhibitionism and exploitation rather than social commentary in the hopes of promoting discourse.

We also saw the anti-Wal*Mart movie Wal*Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price and I was again disturbed by overly simplistic and one-sided attacks masquerading as motivations for social change. When a movie is this nakedly an article of propaganda for a particular viewpoint it’s difficult to take any of its arguments seriously. The film-makers spent way too much time on the wrong subjects and ultimately doom their movie to a life of playing before audiences of people that already agree with their viewpoint. What’s the use in that?


A movie I enjoyed even though it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.

Walk The Line ended up being a pretty standard bio-pic and I had expected that. Luckily the underpinning is one of the best love stories of the last century and that shines though and helps overcome the weaknesses exposed through distractions that detract from Johnny Cash’s less savory aspects. The bottom line? This is a date movie that’ll keep both sexes happy.


DJ madness.

Tonight promises to be a fresh blast of fun with the addition of guest DJ $in into our Tuesday night mix at innjoy. I also have a bunch of new and unreleased stuff to play alongside the old favorites. Also, is it too early to pull out The Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas? Come on by tonight and see!

¹This is obviously a funny ha-ha joke. Everyone knows that I have never ruined an ex's life, it's always been the other way around. Oh me, I'm quite the jokester today, no?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Due to the long holiday weekend in which I lost all motivation to do anything actually "constructive" all I have to offer you today is this lame, but oh-so fitting, Internerd Quiz Result™.

What type of lame scenester are you?

indie prick

You are either a record nerd or not a scenester at
all. You are the coolest of the bunch. Bravo,

What type of lame scenester are you?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Lucy the Dog is vicious.

We found this in our mail slot a few days agoo:

Yup, that tiny little dog has put the fear of God into our mail carrier! What's really funny is that the note is a response to her mauling the mail as it passes through the slot...the mail carrier has never seen Lucy so they probably have a mental image of some huge bruiser on the other side of the door just waiting to chomp on their hand.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

So let the Sunshine in...

I've been sitting on these for a while, but Mister Sunshine has given the go-ahead to publicly disperse this link so I'm doing so. The Tommie Sunshine Radio Edits, in particular, are pretty fucking good...I mean he even makes Good Charlotte sound hip and that's no easy feat!

On a similar tip I recently rediscovered my old mp3s of the second, never released, Yum Yum disc by Chris Holmes as well as the demos Holmes did with Rachael Yamagata back before her Major label deal was fully inked. I'd put those up as well but haven't heard back from Rach as to whether she'd allow it or not so for now I suppose you'll just have to live with the torture of knowing they exist but you can't listen to them.

Or maybe you can!

I'll tell you what, tonight's feature at innjoy was just going to focus on tunes from the new album from The Darkness, but I think I'll throw in a few of those early Yamagata tunes so if you're interested in hearing them then you know where to be after 9:30 pm tonight!

I have lots of other stuff I wanna talk about but it's too early in the morning for that. However please note that my Thanksgiving holiday kicks off tonight around 5pm or 6pm so that should free up some writing time over my five day weekend.

Hell, I might even have another four beers tonight¹...yow!

¹Hmmm...on second thought I'd better not. I can't spare the cab fare, especially with the holiday shopping season already beginning to bleed me dry.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I am a cheap date.

Photogal and I went out Saturday to celebrate our friend Lauren's birthday and I had a whopping four beers over the course of the whole evening. And I got all loopy! So that is how mere mortals feel when they come into contact with alcohol. It's not unpleasanyt at all...and I still remembered everything from the evening! I think I'm really starting to grasp that whole "everything in moderation" concept that always seemed so silly when thrust under the Bacchnalian microscope I employed in the past.

I'm still having a hell of a time quitting smoking though. Grrrr...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Here is where you want to be tonight.

(click the picture to enlarge)

And here is how you can get in without paying full price!

Click on the ticket to open a new window
and then print out as many tickets as you need!

I will be there with tankPOD -- he's flying solo since dPOD suddenlt conked out last night at Schuba's -- to provide the entertainment before and between the bands. What more could you ask for out of a Friday night?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The story of when Tankboy pierced his nose, a saga.

Once upon a time I was actually super hip and ahead of trends. For instance, I was the first guy in my high school to get my ear pierced back in the day when guys with pierced ears were either gay or one of The Lost Boys. I must like sticking things through my skin because a few years later I pierced my nose at a party, and this is the story.

My freshman year of college my friends and I would gather at the White Trash House – which was inhabited by three gorgeous Amazons and one stouter gal with great humor – to watch Quantum Leap (don't ask, it was an early '90s college thing, everyone watched it) and drink beer. Sometime we would do silly stuff like get dressed in drag for no reason at all. Every night was dominated by drinking games and never really kicked into high gear until the bars closed and all the kids who were cooler and older than we were would make their way over to keep imbibing whatever beer and/or drugs were available until sunrise or later.

So we needed to fill the time between the end of Quantum Leap and the closing of the bars with something. This effort is what usually got me into trouble.

This particular evening my girlfriend took off early because we had a fight (though I think she was actually looking for an excuse to bolt so she could hook up and then hook up with one of her fellow theater majors¹…never date an actor, trust me) and I was left with nothing to do but drink beer, shoot the shit and try to figure out ways to make myself even cooler and more hip than I already was.

So I ended up talking to Jen Johnson – the White Trash gal I was crushing on at the time – and she was telling me how much fun it had been when she pierced her own nose a few weeks before. I was sold. If this hot older girl said it was easy and it would also give us a shared experience to talk about then by all means, shove a pin through my nose!

Well, it wasn’t that easy. Apparently there’s a lot of flesh in-between the outside of one’s nose and the inside of one’s nostril and the force Jen was using wasn’t quite sufficient to make it all the way through. She pushed and jabbed and shoved for a good five minutes and the pain grew to be excruciating. I think I mumbled that I needed a moment to compose myself and headed to the bathroom to splash some water on my face.

And then things went blank.

Apparently the bathroom was occupied by my friend Jim Schifeling (a.k.a. “Little Jim” since our group had a number of “Jims”) who amazingly never had a problem when it came to pooping anywhere and at any time. He said I barged into the bathroom, started to lick the soap dish and then proceeded to keel over…pinning him against the toilet while my legs were braced against the door forcing it shut and effectively blockading anyone from gaining entry into the bathroom. He started hootin’ and hollerin’ (because Jim in fact does hoot and holler, there’s no other descriptive term appropriate to his exhortations) and after a few minutes of struggle finally got me into a position that allowed other folks to gain entry to the bathroom and come to our aid.

By this point I was semi-coherent again and Jen was fed up with the time the whole thing was taking, since the guy that she actually had the hots for had shown up and I was detracting from her time with him, that she just grabbed my head and shoved the needle the rest of the way home thus completing my first non-ear piercing experience.

The next morning I woke up in a haze, I think Jen took pity on me and let me sleep in her bed, though this may have just been an excuse for her to force the guy she liked to take her to his place, and I made my way back to the dorms. I was really groggy so I rang my girlfriend and she came down to collect me right away. The first words out of her mouth were, “What the fuck did you do to yourself?”

The second phrase was, “Hey, that’s kind of sexy.” It was totally worth it.

¹I didn’t know this at the time and didn’t really figure out until years later that this was going on and she probably wasn’t the most faithful girlfriend I’ve ever had. To be fair though we were both still teenagers “exploring our sexuality” and this created some ambiguity from time to time. Plus, the guy she was fooling around with that night? I fucked his girlfriend* a few years later and actually started up a little relationship with her behind his back. Was that nice? No. But it sure felt good.

*This is not as mean as it sounds. I did like the girl.


Entertainment options!

Tonight is the Chicagoist Happy Hour where we say thanks to our readership by providing free booze and scintillating conversation that will eventually degenerate into drunken, yet intellectual, buffoonery:

I will be there and it will be fun. And free booze?! C’mon, who doesn’t love free booze?

Tomorrow I’m hosting The Assembly’s record release show at Double Door. You can print out a ticket that gives you a discounted entry here. More details tomorrow, but you really don’t want to miss this. These guys write great anthemic pop songs and are destined to be huge.

UPDATE: I just found out that later tonight, after the Chicagoist shindig, I will be guest spinning at Schuba's with DJs Yin and Yang! This should be a lot of fun. It's the last night of their residency there, so all bets are off!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Drink drank drunk.

So here we are, over a month into my pledge to lay off the excessive social drinking, and so far so good. I have had a drink here and there but have kept hold of my sobriety. This is by far the absolute longest something like this has lasted since I started boozing it up, oh, fifteen years ago. Not bad, eh?

Before I get too busy breaking my arm on my own back though I feel that I should 'fess up and admit that the whole "not smoking" thing is now going so well. While I still certainly don’t smoke as much as I did pre-June 30 of this year I haven’t had the strength to completely quit. Who would've thought that quitting drinking would be the easier vice to shed? Certainly not me.

From time to time I do really crave a good drunk but for the most part I've found that I can actually enjoy myself when I'm out and about at the bars or clubs. The first week or so was difficult since I kept reflexively bellying up to the bar only to realize I didn't need to order anything. As the weeks have passed, though, I’ve found this urge easier to control. Certainly the most unexpected side effect would be the conversations I've been having, and actually remembering, with my friends.

Physically I don't feel any different, which actually surprises me. I expected to feel "sharper" and more "fit." The last time I quit drinking for an extended period time, five years ago, that was the first thing I noticed. To be fair, at that time I was coming off a schedule of drinking and staying out until dawn six or seven days a week and this time around I was already down to only being out two or three times a week – and the hours I was out were far more limited than when I was actually working in a club. The fact I've been so loyal to the gym certainly hasn't hurt me either and I think that’s why the difference in the way I feel isn’t so stunning this time.

So what does this all mean? Does it mean anything? What have I accomplished? Is this really an accomplishemnt? I think it's still too early to tell what this means in the larger scheme but at the moment I think my standard of living has increased a bit. In a purely limited view this decision couldn't have come at a better time since money is virtually nonexistent in Tankboy’s pockets. I'm amazed at how much I have at the end of each weekend when I don’t have to pay for $20 cab rides and healthy bar tabs. (NOTE: I still tip bartenders when they serve me water though. It might not be on every single glass, but they’re still getting dough from me…old habits (in this case, thankfully) die hard.)

Will I ever get drunk again? I don’t know, probably. I figure I have a lot of time ahead of me to figure that out. But at least I've discovered that getting drunk is not as necessary as I might've thought in the past. I'd be lying if I were to say that at the outset of this whole endeavor I didn't have serious doubts as to whether I would still dig doing the things I've usually done under the influence (shows, bars, parties, parades, Christmas shopping), but I needn’t have worried. Apparently I was having real fun all along, the only real difference now is that I can actually remember the good times.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pressed for time.

Here are a few words I wrote about Wilco's new live album that comes out today. Also, please come on out to innjoy to see Rudy and I spin tonight. As an added bonus you can also visit the wonders that are my mini-DJ partners...tankPOD and dPOD!

Um, let's see, anything else? No? Okay, I've gotta go then.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Turn up the heat, first thing.

Wait, are those fur slippers? No, it’s the dog. Why am I so cold? What the hell? Oh, I fell asleep on the couch again. Watching Boondocks and actually surprised you CAN do that on television. And trying to finish last week’s New Yorker like a champ. Always trying to catch up on my reading and so behind on books. I miss the luxury of having the time for books. Now I feel like I'm running in place digesting copious amounts of nothing more than today's, tomorrow's, news in some attempt to stay plugged in and make sense of it all. The exact opposite of college when I unplugged and withdrew into my books, my self, my friends. Drowsy and off now though. Cold too. Heat’s off at night and I’m surprised it didn’t wake me sooner so I could crawl into comfy warm bed with comfy warm comforter and comfy warm girlfriend. Instead I just woke up with a dog as a poor blanket, only keeping my toes protected from the chill. Wow did the house get cold last night. I guess winter is finally starting to creep in around the corner to seep into nooks and crannies before latching onto floors, bones and soul. Shhh, Betty, it’s too early for breakfast. I’ll let you out in a minute.


Hm. I had hoped for another deluge of words hitting the page whilst still half-asleep but I seem to have come to a little bit quicker than usual. Hm. Okay. Cheerios.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I am now very, very upset.

Rudy reemerges with a new band!


Saturday November 12
Tankboy Presents

The Midnight Shows
(Rudy Gonzalez of Woolworthy
with Sean Rice and Randy Morris of Made To Fade)

Kevin Flynn
(of Kiss-N-Ride)
Josh James

Doors at 9:00pm
Show at 10:00pm sharp!
no cover!

1531 N Damen

I'm very excited to hear what Rudy's been cooking up since Woolworthy disbanded. It is a bittersweet evening though since it also will mark the last public appearance of Kiss-N-Ride since Kevin and the boys have decided to pull the plug of their dance-rock combo. Our buddy Josh will be opening the show in a rare solo -- and very public -- appearance. As the kids say: w00t!

Also, the time has come to be very, very afraid. Photogal has discovered MySpace. Yipes!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Van? Van Wilder?

This kid may be on to something. Is it sad that I'm actually a little jealous that I didn't think of this first?
DJs can be introspective too!

The other evening, when I was DJing at innjoy, I found myself playing a bunch of tunes either by Bauhaus¹ or by any of the spin-off groups that came out of Bauhaus. Now this was a little out of character for me since usually only one Bauhaus song will sneak into my set every couple of months but I suppose I had the band on the brain since they were playing in town. At one point I threw on a cover of "Day Tripper" off Daniel Ash’s first solo album. I’ve always liked the song and its languorous pace but it wasn’t exactly a hit with the rest of the room. Afterwards Tom cued up his own iPod to the Beatles' "Bulldog" and made me play it to, in his words, "make amends." I played the tune and everyone seemed happy.

I thought about it a bit yesterday though since I couldn’t really figure out what there was to not like about Daniel Ash's cover of a Beatles song. The more I thought about it the more I realized that it was probably my perspective on the relative critical merits of the tune that should be suspect. You see, that particular album was a favorite of mine my freshman year of college even though, if I peel back the layers and view the past honestly, I actually didn’t really like a lot of the songs on the disc.

I think I latched onto it more because it was the first output by a member of Love And Rockets since "So Alive" was a hit and I had loved the band so much that I was hungry for any proof the group was still active in any way. I had waited years and obsessively combed record store racks – this was back in pre-Internet days when reliable information about music groups was actually scarce from time to time – for the supposed Swing! EP that was supposed to have been a stopgap.² So Daniel Ash’s Coming Down was devoured by me the day it came out. I really wanted the disc to be a continuation of the harder rocking psychedelic of Love And Rockets but Ash had obviously opted for the route that solo recording artists follow all to often to their great detriment; the "I must make a musical statement that is as far removed stylistically from what my fans like as is possible while still staying within roughly the same instrumental parameters."

I was so hungry for new output though that I committed the sin of fandom that made such an attitude by artists possible...I put up with it and latched on to whatever I considered remotely appealing with a zeal that would embarrass even a Fundamentalist outside an abortion clinic. Ultimitely since "Day Tripper" fell within the boundaries of songs that sounded similar to the artist's previous output it was elevated to a plane far above its actual level of musical achievement.

So now, years later, I find I continue to sin, only now my transgression is that of the fan who has clouded their objectivity with the gauze of sentiment. This in itself is perfectly harmless and, to an extent, pretty unavoidable as we are all wont to trip back through time on the tunes that made us who we were and who we ended up becoming. However I guess I can understand when a room that has assembled because of their faith in my musical tastes -- and the continued faith that my selections will actually help to enhance their pleasure throughout the evening –- feels a little betrayed when I pull out a relatively sub par Beatles cover at a point in the evening when I should be winding things down in a manner that sends everyone off with a smile or, at least, a feeling that their trust was well placed in the DJ.

Would I play the song again? Probably. However next time I would make sure to build a little more context using the songs surrounding it in the set and respect the fact that while the songs has a special meaning for me, I'm the only person that sees it that way.

¹And yes, they were unbelievably awesome last night. I was expecting the Bauhaus show to be good, but I had no idea the band was still so completely captivating and massive. My review is here.
²Only years later did I discover that after announcing the disc’s release it was then canned and didn't actually emerge until the group's albums were re-issued recently. Grrrr.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Whatever you do, please don't call them Goth.

I’m going to see Bauhaus tonight. (See my preview of the show in yesterday’s Chicagoist.) I am super excited. I’ve never seen Peter Murphy live and the last time I saw the other three guys – in their little side project called Love And Rockets – it was the late ‘80s so I am just dying with anticipation. I have an extra ticket for tonight too since Photogal doesn’t feel the same need to see the show as I do so if anyone wants to go shoot me a message and let me know. It starts at 7:45 though so I’ve got to jet into work ASAP so I can get the out of there with time to spare since traffic has just been awful on the commute home the last few days. The first day I thought maybe some construction had started but after driving all the way home I realized that wasn’t the case. So, since I have no idea how long it’s going to take me to get home I’ve got to give myself as much wiggle room as possible.

Wow, this started off with promise and just spiraled into BORING, didn‘t it?

Okay, here’s a picture of my nephew rocking a mohawk to make up for it.

COMING SOON: My inaugural podcast for DoneWaiting will go up next week. To get an idea of what we do, download the latest podcast by Robert Duffy from our site...I love the Lone Ranger segues.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Is it Tuesday already? I swear time is accelerating and it's starting to freak me out.Why don't you stop by and discuss my autobahn mortality with me tonight at innjoy. It should be fun. I have the new Madonna so maybe I'll torture Tom with a track or two. Tuesdays start to get busier around this time of year as it starts to get chillier and chillier outside and people want to belly up to the bar to warm their innards with booze. I know this is certainly my favorite time of year to drink! Oh wait, I'm not drinking tonight. Oh well, that doesn't mean you shouldn't come by and tip a few back.

Photogal and I were going through our schedules last night and we realized that either seperatley or in tandem, we would be out every night this week at some sort of social event. Well, I will provided I can get in to see Bauhaus tomorrow. But then there's the Venom Lords CD release this week, and Rudy is playing at The Pontiac with his new band, and Skid and Dave are DJing...and so on anbd so on. I will say that not drinking means I can drive to all these events and driving means I save a truckload of money on cab fare and such, which is a really good thing sincen right now I am flat broke.

I know, wah wah Tankboy. Cry me a river. Okay, I won't complain anymore. Things are actually going pretty well for me so I think I'll just sit back and enjoy myself for a spell.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I just got off the phone with DAN RYAN! I’m very excited. He’s currently going through physical rehab out near where I work so I’m going to drop by and see him in the next few days. He sounds really good and says he’s this close to walking again. He also told me they caught the creep who hit him. Apparently Dan’s bike wrecked the guy’s Jeep so he wasn’t that hard to track down.

All in all though it sounds like things are going really well and I’m really looking forward to seeing him.

P.S. Dan would like everyone to klnow that since he technically was dead for a while that obviously means that he is now a zombie. While he hasn’t actually had the chance to eat and human brains yet he certainly plans on doing so as soon as the chance presents itself.

I’m glad to see the accident hasn’t affected his head.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A rare weekend post.

The weekend was not nearly as wild as I had planned. I actually stayed in last night! I am officially getting old. I am also pleased to note that this whole "not drinking" thing is beginning to spread amongst my friends. This is not such a positive development for local bar-owners but it certainly does make abstaining from the goofy juice a whole lot easier. Now when the smoking ban goes into effect next year it'll be easy as cake pie to remain vice free!

I also went to a movie with my mom yesterday presented by this group called Talk Cinema. Basically they show movies every few weeks and you have no idea what they will be other than the fact that they aren't in wide release yet. So the majority of films are either foreign or still making the festival circuit. What movie did we end up watching yesterday? New York Doll! It was a documentary on the New York Dolls reunion last year and it centered on bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane and it was excellent. After the movie Greg Kot got up and did a little presentation of his own about the band and the movie and then led a question and answer session. Let me tell you, listening to a bunch of 50-somethings asking questions about the New York Dolls and positing theories on Kane being brain damaged and Morrissey's need for perfect lighting (he's featured in the film as well) proved to be a pretty surreal experience. Regardless, I urge one and all to catch this movie when it finally comes out. All in all I couldn't believe my luck since this selection was so solidly right up my alley and all.

I just finished imitating an eighty year old man by having breakfast and reading the Sunday paper at the Jewish deli a couple blocks from our place, and later today the Mad Moldovan and I are going to catch a movie since his wife is off in Africa and his sister-in-law (a.k.a. my girl Photogal) is off in Florida.

This weekend may not have been the non-stop rock and/or roll party I had been planning on, but it ended up being pretty awesome anyway.

Friday, November 04, 2005

All BY MYself...

Photogal's in Florida so I'm-a runnin' solo this weekend. Look out world, here comes trouble!

Okay, maybe not so much.

I do at least have my evenings planned out already. Tonight is the Brad Peterson CD release show at Schuba's with The Bon Mots and OFFICE. I haven't seen OFFICE in years so I'm looking forward to experiencing their new line-up. I haven't seen The Bon Mots in months so I'm curious to see if they have written any new tunes. I haven't seen Brad with a full band in years so I'm guessing his set should be pretty mind-blowing. Afterwards Eric from The Bon Mots is DJing upstairs at Schuba's so expect some rock and/or roll dancing.

Tomorrow Awesome Car Funmaker plays The Pontiac. I know no one around here really knows who they are. In fact when I fist booked them they were in the legion of bands whose CDs struck me as being decent but not terrific or particularly noteworthy. Average.

Then I walked into their last set at The Pontiac and was knocked the fuck out by the whirling dervish on-stage knocking out Mod-inflected whirlwinds in a rock and/or roll frenzy. It was one of those definite, "Whoah." moments. It was awesome. So I'm looking forward to their show tomorrow and suggest you get yourself to The Pontiac to see them as well!

And somewhere in-between those shows I plan on catching a few movies, renting a few DVDs and generally play-acting the part of the lazy bachelor growing roots into his couch. It will be bliss.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I am the pledge-frickin’-master!

A few years ago when I first volunteered to help with the local NPR pledge drive I found myself frozen and unable to move the first time the phone I had been stationed at began to ring with a person wishing to donate money at the other end. I make the point that the person on the other end was a) calling me because b) they wanted to donate money because it should help underscore what a useless twit I was that day. You see, the situation immediately threw me back to the days when I was a (miserably failed) telemarketer and even though every logical cell in my body told me I being a moron I still couldn’t bring myself to pick up the phone. So, over the last few years, whenever I volunteered for NPR I was the guy they would stick in a corner so I could enter the pledge forms into the computer system.

Well, yesterday I decided it was time to face my fear and actually handle a few phone calls and – aside from a few folks who were calling in to complain¹ and let me know how upset they were that WBEZ cancelled Odyssey – I had a blast! I handled call after call after call and actually found myself enjoying talking to the folks on the other end. My three favorite pledges were as follows:

  • To the guy that started yelling, “That’s so frickin’ cool!” when he found out his employer matched his pledge I would like to say; No sir, you are so frickin’ cool for pledging in the first place.

  • I discovered lots of people actually don’t want any of the gifts you get for pledging at certain levels but my favorite guy was the one who turned down a free subscription to The Economist. Why? He asked me if the periodical had a political slant and when I told him that it was actually pretty even keeled in its reporting he said, “If it’s not liberal I don’t want to read it!” Sir, you amused me to no end but you also frustrated me since that attitude is really no better than the person who lives, breathes and swears by FOX News. Thanks for the pledge though!

  • I also got a return phone call from a guy who wanted to make sure I marked that he wanted to extend his subscription to Newsweek that was also being offered as a free premium for anyone paying with credit card. Why did he feel the need to double-check that I had done so? He said, “I was reading this week’s issue and they were really doing a good job of taking the White House to task and they’re just doing such a good job I don’t want to miss a single issue.” Don’t worry sir, I’ve got you covered.

So there you have it. Any day I can overcome an irrational fear that’s embarrassed me for years is a good one. I rock!

UPDATE: I just learned that Photogal's name got read on the air yesterday becasue she made her own pledge during some downtime when the phones were quiet. We didn't hear it but one of her co-workers approached here at work and was all like, "Did you donate money to NPR yesterday because they said your name on the radio and I can't imageine there are too many people name (name withdrawn to protect Photogal's public identity)." Awesome!

¹I did feel badly for one woman who just seemed to get nothing but complaints. And people call in about the weirdest things. For instance one of the on-air personalities was exhorting listeners to make a pledge by saying it would have a more immediate and personal effect than if said listeners were to donate to something else like the Wildlife Fund. It was an incredibly silly thing to say and it was obviously a very tongue in cheek sort of comment but this really threw some folks into a tizzy. Here I would like to add a word of advice to folks who are so easily ruffled by such comments; turn off your radio, it’ll lower you blood pressure.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tying up loose ends.

I’ve been meaning to mention the following things but I just never seem to get around to it. Consider this “getting around to it.”

  • I have been seriously negligent about not mentioning this fabulous play Photogal and I saw a few weeks ago. It’s called Bottle Can Draft and it’s a site specific piece...meaning that it takes place in a bar so the play is being presented in a bar. I thought the whole thing was entertaining and engaging and would heartily recommend it to anyone reading this. Unfortunately I’ve been remiss in my duties as far as mentioning this in a timely fashion and regret to inform you that next Monday is the show’s last performance so if you’re going to catch it NOW is the time to get your order in for tickets. Also, stay on your toes while watching the show. I found myself being asked my SAT scores by a pretty girl about halfway through the show and briefly became part of the act.

  • I just realized I don’t own a copy of Strange Brew on wither VHS or DVD…how is that possible?

  • I want this iDJ set-up from Numark so badly I can taste it. It’s heading to the top of my Christmas Wish list.

  • Also on the list, The Complete Calvin And Hobbes.

  • Jeez, after those last tow items I’m salivating so heavily I’m in severe danger of electrocuting myself on my keyboard!

  • Last Friday I learned that people will dance like maniacs to The Outfield but don’t really care for .38 Special. This confuses me since I think both sound incredibly similar, but the people have spoken and .38 Special has been bumped from both tankPOD and dPOD.

  • Okay, I admit it, “Irregardless” is not a word. Even I get caught by the English/Grammar Police from time to time.

  • Photogal is gonna be out of town this weekend, so what’s going on besides the Bon Mots and Brad Peterson show Friday night?

  • I’m volunteering at the local NPR station today since they’re running their pledge drive. I renewed my own membership earlier this week and am getting some sweet This American Life tumblers as my premium. The only bummer was yesterday when I realized that instead of signing up for the installment plan to pay off my pledge, NPR had instead withdrawn all the money at the same time! Oh well, at least I won’t have to worry about forgetting each month that it’ll overdraw my account due to my forgetfulness. I also wish that I could have taken advantage of the year’s subscription to The Economist but they had nothing in place to allow me to tack that year at the end of my current sub. I obviously don’t need two copies a week; however it’s a great premium for anyone else who’s going to sign up. A year’s sub costs about $115 and you get it through NPR for a pledge over $120. Sa-weet!

  • When I was in London I fell in love with that whole "Mind The Gap" thing but couldn't brig myself to buy a t-shirt with the phrase over a Tube logo because the whole endeavor just felt too touristy. However I almost faltered when I saw a "Fuck The Gap" shirt. Ultimately I returned home empty handed and regretting my decision to not just suck it up and be a tourist consumer. Luckily for me my boss was just over there and was nice enough to pick up a shirt for me since I think she could sense I was a bit sorry I hadn't done so myself. Yippee!

  • If I saw one more naughty nurse or bad kitty or cute little fucking butterfly-wing girl last weekend I was going to scream. Listen, I’m certainly not against girls showing some flesh and looking sexy. As a matter of fact I could not be any more strenuously for this practice. However I do ask that you show a teensy bit of inventiveness. For instance Photogal was a naughty nurse last year but she also went around handing out fake prescriptions and really got into character. That was cool. Had she just worn a white pleather mini-dress and proceeded to stumble drunkenly all over the place that would not have been cool. Do you see the distinction?

  • Speaking of Photogal’s cool costumes, this year she went to a party in a track-suit with a marathon number pinned on to it and a wedding veil. She also had a bouquet of flowers of flowers in one hand and a bus ticket in the other. Can you guess what she was? It was awesome.

  • Another thing about last weekend. I had forgotten that Halloween is like the holiday for singles to hook up. I had also forgotten how funny it is that by the end of the evening most singles are such amateurs that their hookups resemble drunken sleepovers rather than nights of passion. Color me amused.

  • Yesterday I stopped by Best Buy to look at stuff I can no longer afford and I noticed that almost every register at the store was manned by an employee and there were ropes set up in case the line to the check-out area had to wind back and forth. Now this best Buy usually has two people – three tops – working the registers so I was a bit confused, especially since none of them had any customers and the vast majority of them looked incredibly bored. On the way out I asked the security guard what was up and he said, “The new Star Wars DVD came out and they thought there was going to be a huge rush for the movie. I guess not.” Yeah, I guess not.

  • I also stopped by a Circuit City – still window shopping mind you – and found myself asking myself the same question I do every time I enter one of their stores. Why the fuck is Circuit City so ghetto? I mean the stores look like absolute crap with a lousy selection even I’m in a ritzy suburb north of the city where lots of rich people shop looking to spend mucho dinero. How do they expect to compete with anyone, much less the Best Buy or Target that’s usually lurking just around the corner? I don’t get it.

  • While Kip won the prize on Friday for best costume because his was so good NO ONE recognized him, I have to admit that personaly I liked DonnaBalls’ costume best. She came dressed as Kip. Take a gander at the disturbing result:

Disturbing, no? I mean, look at those Capri cigarettes! It's enough to make one shudder.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So much to say.

Really there is so much I want to tell you but I just don’t have the time. Like, I want to finish my London travelogue so I can say, “take that!” to Debbie but it’ll have to wait. And I want to talk about some of the fun stuff I noticed while sober this Halloween but that’ll have to wait. And I want to talk about how just because I’ve quit recreational drinking doesn’t mean I can’t have the occasional drink but since everyone keeps asking me how the whole “not drinking” thing is going I’m feeling a little pressured to never drink again, but it’ll have to wait. And I want to talk about the Double Door Halloween show, but it’ll have to wait. Oh wait, no it won’t. I already wrote about it yesterday!

Why do all of these equally important and weighty topics have to wait? There’s a single reason they all have to wait. What is that reason, you ask?

Today is Rudy’s birthday.

(No, that's not Rudy, it's my nephew! I will obviously use any cheap excuse to sneak pictures of his cute little mug into my posts though, and since he's covered in cake I reckoned it was birthday-centric enough to warrant inclusion. A picture of Rudy, or at least his arm, is below.)

Yes, Rudy is another year older, so please join us tonight to celebrate another year of no one seeing that portrait he's got locked in his attic.